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continuous treatment rule

The continuous treatment rule is a common law liability doctrine stating that if a physician has treated a patient over a period of time, only one policy limit applies—the one in force at the time the claim is made.

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This rule prevents a "stacking of limits" situation where the total policy limits (that were available during the entire course of treatment) could otherwise be applied to a claim of this type. The continuous treatment rule can also be applied to other professionals, most frequently to lawyers and accountants, whose services for a given case or engagement sometimes take place over several years.